Global study uncovers high risk to pregnant women from COVID-19

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Pregnant women who contract COVID-19 are 22 times more likely to die and 50 percent more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications.

According to global study, conducted on over 2100 pregnant women across 18 countries, including Pakistan, published in JAMA Paediatrics, pregnant women who contract Covid-19 are more likely to die and more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications than expecting women unaffected by Covid-19.

Read more: Coronavirus infection interferes with heart function, scientists discovered

78AKU faculty Prof Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Dr Shabina Ariff, Dr Ghulam Zainab, Dr Lumaan Shaikh and Dr Khalil Ahmed from the departments of paediatrics and child health, and obstetrics and gynaecology contributed to the study which selected over 300 pregnant women from Pakistan to the global study.

Moreover, the INTERCOVID study conducted by the University of Oxford, involved collaborations with 43 maternity hospitals from low, middle and high-income countries to conduct the very first detailed comparative studies into the effects of the coronavirus on outcomes for mothers and babies during the pandemic.

The study was unique because each Covid-19 affected woman was compared to two non-infected pregnant women giving birth at the same time in the same hospital.

The researchers aimed to understand the effects of Covid-19 in pregnancy. They collecting robust data on expecting women with and without a diagnosis of Covid-19. It was an important step to ensure that families understand the risks involved, mothers and babies receive the best possible care and health resources.

“The information should help families, as the need to do all one can to avoid becoming infected is now clear. It also strengthens the case for offering vaccination to pregnant women,” said Stephen Kennedy, professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Oxford, who co-led the study.

Approximately, one in 10 babies of mothers who tested Covid-19 positive during pregnancy also tested positive for the virus during the first few days after birth.

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